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The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Your Cherry Picker

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You are spoilt for choice when it comes to hiring or buying a cherry picker, also known as a boom lift. With different outreach lengths, platform widths and working heights on offer, you can always select the right powered access platform to suit your specific job.

But which platform is right for you? Are you looking to hire a MEWP for your next project? In this guide, experts at Horizon Platforms share all you need to know when selecting the right cherry picker for working at height.

What Is A Cherry Picker?

A cherry picker is commonly used to help people reach up and over obstacles safely when working at height. They are designed with an extendable boom (hence the name ‘boom lift’), which is lifted by a hydraulic crane. This telescopic arm is attached to the cherry picker’s bucket, which is where professionals operate the platform from. As the boom lift’s arm is elevated, the bucket is also lifted, allowing the operator to carefully reach awkward spaces or heights. 

It won’t surprise you to learn that cherry pickers were initially used to pick fruits, and this gives you an idea of why they are perfect for reaching heights flexibly and safely. They are significantly safer than using ladders or scaffolding! 

What Are Cherry Pickers Used For?

Cherry pickers are used for completing work at height safely and successfully. From building, electrical and mechanical maintenance, retail fit outs and fire and security installation to filming events. 

As a particularly versatile piece of equipment, it’s likely you’ll see cherry pickers being used for a number of jobs across many industries. It allows the operator to be hoisted into the air safely without needing to overreach. Boom lifts should be used to enable safe access to height, rather than for lifting equipment or carrying out long and complex tasks. 

Why Should You Choose A Cherry Picker? 

You should choose a cherry picker if you are looking for a powered access platform with a higher outreach capability. An abundance of different MEWPs carry their own distinct advantages, but cherry pickers are most likely to be used if you need to safely reach awkward spaces or access a higher level. 

There are no major differences between a cherry picker and a boom lift and the two terms are often interchangeable. They both feature a bucket allowing the operator to work safely and securely at height, which is connected to an extendable arm. Often boom lifts are self-propelled, allowing them to move around when raised, whereas cherry pickers are often towed between locations and can’t be moved once elevated. In spite of the slight differences, operators should know and be trained on how to safely and effectively operate the platforms. 

Considering Scissor Lifts Vs Boom Lifts 

So what about the difference between scissor lifts and boom lifts? When should you use one or the other?

Scissor lifts operate vertically, designed to be driven at a safe height. This allows the operator to get close to the working area directly. They typically have a larger platform, multiple workers can be lifted at the same time and perfect for working at lower height. 

Compared to scissor lifts, a cherry picker has a much greater working height thanks to the outreach of its extendable arm. Making them more suitable for accessing hard-to-reach places at height, especially as the boom can be manoeuvred around objects. 

The Benefits Of Cherry Pickers

  • They have a higher outreach capability compared to other types of MEWPs.
  • They’re flexible and versatile, able to reach a variety of heights and awkward spaces.
  • They’re adaptable. Self-propelled boom lifts can be driven while elevated and the arm can be used to reach a variety of spaces, so you don’t have to keep repositioning your MEWP to carry out the work. 
  • Boom lifts are time-efficient. Avoid wasting time repositioning your access platform – use a platform that can reach tricky spots instead. 
  • Guardrails offer increased safety, which is particularly important when working at height. 
  • Their versatility allow professionals to work at height indoors or outdoors, on rough terrain or in those hard to reach places. 
  • Compared to scaffolding, a MEWP such as a cherry picker is much easier to arrange and set up. 

Different Cherry Picker Booms

With several different boom types out there, you’ll need to know what type of extendable boom arm best suits your job. There’s no ‘one size fits all’:

  • Telescopic booms have straight arms which are great for reaching impressive heights.
  • Articulating booms have arms that bend which are ideal for getting to awkward spaces.
  • Spider lifts, sometimes known as crawler lifts, have up-and-over reach capability for tricky, hard-to-reach spots. Their more compact size makes them great for indoor applications, though they are also known to perform excellently on challenging terrain thanks to their use of outriggers. 
  • Mast booms allow the operator to move up and down in a vertical direction. They’re an ideal choice for more confined spaces at lower heights. 

How To Choose The Right Cherry Picker

There are several different types of boom lifts available for hire. When selecting your cherry picker, ask yourself the following:

  • How high is the area I want to access? 
  • Will I be using my cherry picker inside or outside? 
  • Will I be operating the cherry picker on rough terrain? 
  • What power source is available?
  • How heavy is the equipment I’m planning to use? 
  • Does the MEWP need to be mobile?
  • How narrow or restricted is the space I need to access?
  • Is horizontal and vertical reach required? 

Different cherry pickers are manufactured to suit specific requirements, so you should always consult a powered access platform expert such as Horizon Platforms’ team before hiring or buying your cherry picker. 

What Cherry Picker Size Is Right For Me?

Consider how high you need to reach to ensure you calculate the correct working height. Every cherry picker will have a maximum reach, so you should never select a cherry picker that won’t comfortably reach the height you need to work at. It’s incredibly unsafe to overreach or try to push the cherry picker beyond its limits, so always ensure you never underestimate the reach you need. 

If you need an articulated boom lift, you should also estimate the sideways outreach required to ensure the operator is always in a comfortable working position. 

Here at Horizon Platforms, we offer a range of cherry pickers for hire. From cherry pickers with a working height of over 50m to an outreach of 24m, you’re bound to find the right cherry picker size to suit your job. 

How High Can A Cherry Picker Reach?

Within the Horizon Platforms fleet, the highest our cherry pickers can reach is working heights of 58m. The new JLG 1850SJ is thought to be one of the highest self-propelled boom lifts thanks to its impressive outreach and working height, and we’re proud to offer this diesel boom lift as part of our fleet.

Who Can Operate A Cherry Picker?

You need to be over 18 years old, carry the right licence and have suitable training qualifications to legally operate a MEWP. While those with a standard vehicle driving licence will be able to drive cherry pickers under 3.5 tons (or under 7.5 tons, if your driving licence was acquired before 1994), any piece of equipment over this weight will require you to get additional categories added to your driving licence plus undertake additional training. 

It is a legal requirement that anyone working at height, which includes the use of MEWPs such as a cherry picker, must be able to demonstrate completion of appropriate training. While there’s no defined level of appropriate training, it’s considered best practice for all cherry picker operators, managers, demonstrators and inspectors to undergo relevant IPAF training

You also have the option to hire a fully trained operator alongside your MEWP. This will provide complete peace of mind that your operator is fully qualified to safely and competently use your hired cherry picker. 

Safety Considerations When Using Your Cherry Picker

Before using your cherry picker, you should consider any potential risks and put control measures in place to minimise these. Consider, for example, whether falling objects could be an issue or whether overhead cables could be hazardous. As cherry pickers are often used to access challenging spaces, you should be aware of any obstacles within the vicinity that could increase the chance of an accident. 

Whether you’ve chosen to hire or buy your cherry picker, you should always conduct a pre-use inspection. This will help to familiarise all operators with the machine, while identifying any potential problems or faults. Remember – as part of PUWER (1998), it’s your legal responsibility to ensure all MEWPs are in ‘good working order, maintained and repaired’ ahead of operation. 

It’s recommended that operators use a fall arrest system when using a cherry picker to prevent falls from height. Though it’s not a legal requirement, wearing a harness at height can be a life saver and as such understanding how to use and inspect harnesses safely should be a priority for any cherry picker operator. 

What Cherry Picker Training Do I Need? 

Taking part in certified training courses is the most effective way to ensure an operator is using a cherry picker correctly and safely. IPAF training provides the industry standard qualification for powered access platforms, so all operators should ensure they undertake the correct training course for the access platform they wish to operate.

A Powered Access Licence (PAL) card will be issued which demonstrates the type of access platform the operator is qualified to operate. These cards are valid for 5 years, with the option to renew your IPAF training ahead of the expiration date. 

For more information, take a look at our Ultimate Guide To Access Platform Training

Should I Hire Or Buy A Cherry Picker? 

If you’re wondering whether to hire or buy a cherry picker, one of the key questions to ask is how long you’ll need the equipment for. If you regularly require the same type of cherry picker, then it could be more cost effective to buy a used or new boom lift. 

However, if you just need a cherry picker for a limited amount of time, regularly need a variety of different MEWPs, or you’re looking for a specific type of cherry picker to complete a job, then hiring a cherry picker could be the most efficient option for you. 

You might also find that storage and maintenance costs are prohibitive when it comes to buying a MEWP, and therefore hiring a cherry picker is the most convenient and effective solution for your business needs. Whatever your circumstances, make sure you’ve done your homework and know the pros and cons of both hiring and buying these important machines. 

About Cherry Picker Hire

With lower upfront costs and all inspections and services accounted for, hiring a cherry picker could be the most cost effective and efficient option for many businesses. Unless you regularly hire the same MEWP, have the appropriate storage facilities onsite and the capacity to service and maintain your machines, we recommend choosing to hire your cherry picker from us. 

Not only do you get a choice between a vast selection of cherry pickers, but you also have complete peace of mind that your hired machine is fully operational, safe to use and compliant with industry regulations. 

There are many benefits of hiring a powered access platform and, thanks to Horizon Platforms, the process has never been easier. We pride ourselves on providing fast, reliable delivery – simply let us know what equipment you need, and we’ll deliver it the same or next day so you can get started on your job in no time. It’s never been simpler to select the right cherry picker. Just contact our friendly team to let us know your requirements and we’ll help you every step of the way. 

Cherry Pickers For Sale

Buying a cherry picker could provide a greater return on investment compared to hiring a machine if you use MEWPs regularly, while also allowing operators to safely and efficiently work at height using consistent on-site equipment. Plus, when you buy from Horizon Platforms, you’ll receive a full service and maintenance agreement and 90-day warranty for additional peace of mind. 

If you’re considering buying a cherry picker, you may find it beneficial to buy a used access platform as opposed to shelling out on a brand new machine, allowing you to choose from top-of-the-range brands without going over budget. 

Before you go ahead and buy a used cherry picker, take a look at our advice on how to pick the best used MEWP for your business needs. This includes selecting a reputable supplier, physically inspecting the machine, ensuring it performs ‘as new’ and has a full service history. 

Choosing A Reputable Cherry Picker Provider

Horizon Platforms provides access to over 16,000 platforms nationwide to help you carry out work at height safely. With a whole host of MEWPs available to hire or buy, finding the right platform for your needs can be a challenge. That’s why, here at Horizon Platforms, we strive to make your decision-making process as simple as possible. Here are just 10 reasons why you should choose Horizon Platforms when hiring your next cherry picker: 

1.An Extensive Fleet To Choose From

We provide access to over 16,000 platforms nationwide, and only ever offer quality machines from reputable manufacturers. Whether you’re looking for a cherry picker, personnel lift, scissor lift or more, you can rely on us to find the right machine for your project.

Thanks to our strong relationships with our trusted nationwide partners, if we are unable to supply the platforms you need from our own fleet, we can source a suitable cherry picker in no time no matter where you’re based. 

2. Competitive Costs

Whether you’re looking for a cherry picker to rent per day or you need longer term options, we offer competitive costs and premium service. We also provide competitive rental costs for self-drive, operator and driver-hire options so you can get your job up and running as quickly as possible. Secure a quote for your cherry picker in as little as 15 minutes when you contact us.

3. Fast, Reliable Delivery

As one of the nation’s leading MEWP specialists, we pride ourselves on fast, efficient delivery of your cherry picker. With 98% of all deliveries arriving on time, we’re confident and committed to ensuring you get your MEWP without disruption. And, if there ever is a slight delay, we’ll credit your delivery charge.  

4. Flexible Rental Terms And Payment Plans

Our flexible rental terms allow you to hire per day, week or project, with long-term hire also available. Complete your project with minimal hassle thanks to our fast, easy hiring process. Our impressive finance packages make buying your cherry picker simple if you’d prefer to grow your own fleet – with part exchange options available, finding the right solution for your needs has never been easier. 

5. Fast Process From Start To Finish

We don’t just offer a quick delivery option – we pride ourselves on a speedy yet premium service every step of the way. Open a credit account in just a few minutes and get a decision within one hour from Monday to Friday so there’s no hanging about. 

Our exemplary service doesn’t stop there. If you call, we’ll answer within 15 seconds. If you ping us an email, we’ll respond or confirm your order within 15 minutes. So you can spend less time worrying about your cherry picker hire, and more time getting the job done. 

6. Exceptional Maintenance 

Our cherry picker maintenance packages cover your entire powered access platform servicing, maintenance and repair needs. Make sure your MEWPs are fully operational, safe and compliant at all times. 

7. Professionally Inspected

A bit like a car MOT, it’s important your MEWP is thoroughly inspected. We’ll always make sure your cherry picker comes complete with a full service history and regular inspections so you have full peace of mind that your hired equipment is ready to use from the get go. 

8. Repair On Hand, Any Time

We offer a nationwide repair service so, in the unlikely event of equipment failure, you’ll have access to an expert within 15 minutes and an engineer on site within three hours if needed. Minimise your downtime and keep your project running smoothly. 

9. Impressive Accreditations

We have the triple crown of ISO standards, Safe Contractor certification and IPAF Rental+ Gold. They don’t give these accreditations away, and for good reason. They separate specialists like us from the pack, providing the highest guarantee that you’ll receive excellent standards of service when you work with us. 

10. Expert Advice

Our expert team are always on hand to advise which cherry picker is most suitable for the job. With thousands of machines to choose from, our specialists will help you find the right fit for your project. We know you don’t work the standard 9-5, and we don’t either – call us 24/7, and we’ll be there to help out.

For more advice on choosing the right cherry picker for your project, check out the Horizon Platforms blog or get in touch on Facebook